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Thanksgiving Staycation Part 2: Vail Hike and Aspen World Cup

November 27, 2012

Here in the Vail Valley, we were blessed and cursed with beautiful spring-like weather over the Thanksgiving holiday.  Blessed because it was 50 degrees and sunny, and cursed because we need snow, and the warm weather didn’t help matters.  

On Saturday, we decided to take advantage of the beautiful day and hike up Vail Mountain.  A couple of friends and I set off on a pretty vigorous hike up to the top of Vail’s brand-new gondola.  After a few days of eating absurd quantities of food, it felt great to really get my blood pumping while soaking up the sun and the scenery.

It took us almost two hours to make it to the top of the gondola that would take us back down to the village.  (Tip: if you have bad knees and like to hike, this is the way to go.  You get the exercise on the way up, then come down pain-free.)  Back at the base, we lounged on the patio of Los Amigos enjoying margaritas and nachos.  Everything tasted delicious, especially knowing that we earned every bite and sip.

Leaving Vail that evening, we were treated to a gorgeous sunset over the Gore Range.

On Sunday, the final day of my glorious staycation, I took a day trip to Aspen.  One of my friends is a rockstar former U.S. Ski Team racer, and she invited me to go watch the women’s World Cup ski races in Aspen.  It was my first time really watching a ski race and turned out to be a great time.

When we first got to town, we ducked into the Main Street Bakery for lattes and baked goods.  Holy yum.  Next time you’re in Aspen, promise me you’ll stop in for a pastry.  Thanks. Back to the races…

We sat in the stands, basking in the sun and watching the field of 60 athletes fly down the slalom course.

It was an exciting race, especially watching Vail hometown prodigy Mikaela Shiffrin put up a truly impressive second run. Shiffrin is only 17 years old, and she’s putting up better numbers than Lindsey Vonn did at her age.  It was pretty incredible to watch her and think about what I was doing at age 17 (pretty much nothing).

The only thing lacking was my very own cow bell. An added bonus was the truly tasty food given out for free at the event.  I can honestly say I’ve never received so much free stuff in Aspen!

Between the first and second run, we wandered through town.  I adore Aspen, and it felt great to meander through this beautiful town.

After some uneventful window shopping (town was surprisingly dead and most stores were closed), we ducked into The Red Onion, an Aspen institution, to watch a bit of the Broncos game and sip a Bloody Mary.

When we got home, there I had just enough time left in my staycation to get out my Christmas decorations and relax in front of the tree.  I hope your Thanksgiving was as wonderful as mine!

 

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